Rev. J Kortering
Step into their office, and the smell makes you "heady" before you ever reach the inner sanctum.
The paraphernalia for examination gives you goose bumps just to look at, to say nothing of having them attached or inserted. Before long the light waves flow, the magical pen scratches strange lines, a soft hum may be heard, a bell rings.
The verdict is given in language that itself is scary whether it is good or bad. If the good doctor wants to do further testing, he kindly advises the hospital. And that is something else. What a technology, equipment, lab work, diagnosis, and treatment!
One is inclined just to give himself over to the doctor. It's way over our heads. If he doesn't know what to do, who does? If he can't help, who will? We sigh and take the pricks, the jabs, and softly say, "Go to it, doc."
In all of this it is very easy to let the doctor "play god." There are many physicians who eagerly do this. They like to have people consider them so powerful that they possess the gifts of healing. One reads of leaders in the medical profession determining life and death. They claim the medical knowledge to clone and to abort. They are now putting this into practice. How "godlike" they appear! If they possess this knowledge, surely they are able to perform the healing arts. Their equipment, their medicine, their surgical technique give them that power. How easy it is for us just to place our life in their hands and trust in mighty man!
As children of God we are thankful for this knowledge God has given to man. It is truly amazing. The fact nevertheless remains, that no man can heal.
One of the few references to doctors in the New Testament is given in Luke 8:43, "And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any, came behind him and touched the border of his garment; and immediately her issue of blood stanched." Mark adds concerning this same event, "And had suffered many things of many physicians and had spent all that she had and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse," Mark 5:26.
By making reference to this instance, we do not intend to belittle the merciful labors of doctors, especially of Christian doctors. Rather in this reference we see two things. First, Luke mentions this, though he was himself a doctor. That's good. A doctor must recognize his own limitations. Let every Christian doctor read this passage before entering his office each morning: "And she suffered many things of many physicians and had spent all that she had and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse." People often do suffer at the hands of doctors; that is, doctors even contribute to their worse condition. Recognizing this, a Christian doctor won't try to play god, nor project that image, but recognize his limitation. Secondly, the patient will not expect him to be god either. Doctors are human, they have all the limitations of frail man. They have a vast amount of knowledge at their disposal, they have much technology which they can use. Yet, it all has limitations. It is appointed unto man once to die and after that the judgment. Disease will continue; man will always get sick; there will be need for medical attention; and all this notwithstanding, we will die.
By referring to this instance, Jesus did not mean that doctors are no good. Remember, Jesus also said, "They that are whole need not a physician, but they that are sick," Luke 5:31. Notice, they that are sick need a physician. We must seek medical help. The poor woman did not do wrong seeking help and spending all her money with doctors. Jesus only wanted to demonstrate that all this has limitations.
Jesus teaches us in this event that healing comes from Himself. He is the Lord of life and death. Through faith, this poor woman turned to the "Great Physician" and touched the border of his garment and was healed.
What must we learn from this?
Doctors and patients must turn to the Lord for healing. Jesus is not telling us that if we have faith we will have no disease or be cured by Him. Jesus does not say ignore doctors, just come to me directly for healing. The sick need physicians, but physicians cannot heal; healing is an act of God. He uses the means of doctors and medicine. Without that faith in God, even the healing granted can avail nothing.
With this knowledge we will not fall into the sin of idolatry when we deal with medicine.
We will recognize that God is the Healer of broken bodies and troubled hearts through Jesus Christ.
In Christ, doctors are a great blessing.
We need them.
God uses them.
Give honor to God alone.
From the Standard Bearer, Vol. 54, p. 477
Last modified: 27-Nov-2001